Watch the Cast of Broadway’s The Great Society Sum Up the Play in a Political Slogan

When President Lyndon Baines Johnson ran to keep his Presidency in 1965, he ran on the campaign of “The Great Society,” a set of domestic programs intended to reshape life in the United States mainly by combating poverty and racial injustice. It was the summary of his agenda. The play that finds its name in the campaign promise officially opened October 1 at Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre, starring Succession’s Brian Cox as LBJ.Playbill asked the cast of The Great Society: If Robert Schenkkan’s play were to have a summarizing slogan, what would it be? To see the video, click here.

Richard Thomas Is a Happy Warrior in THE GREAT SOCIETY

Years before the first Christmas on Walton's Mountain, Richard Thomas was a 17-year-old taking in the shock and awe served up by the year 1968: the assassinations of MLK and RFK, the civil rights movement, the escalation of the Vietnam War. These days, he's taking it all in again, as Vice President Hubert Horatio Humphrey in The Great Society by Robert Schenkkan, who continues his Broadway exploration of Lyndon Johnson's turbulent presidency that began in the Tony Award-winning ALL THE WAY. To read more, click here.

The Glorious Corner

I’ve been a fan of Brian Cox for years. His role as Logan Roy on HBO’s Succession has been like a master class with each installment. It’s actually given me tremendous pleasure to see the show embraced as it has. Its second-season finale two weeks back still has people talking. My colleague Roger Freidman wrote a fantastic review of Cox’s playThe Great Society at the Vivian Beaumont Theater and we caught it Saturday night. Cox is simply brilliant and yes, at times, channels his Logan Roy character on Succession. It’s written by Robert Shenkkan, who last year did the brilliant LBJ-play All The Way with Bryan Cranston. Cox plays LBJ on this as well, but with a startling cast: from Richard Thomas to Marc Kudish and the awesome David Garrison. Largely at issue in Great Society is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, initiated by Kennedy just before he was assassinated, and the hell that Johnson put himself through to get it sanctioned in both substance and spirit by African-American leaders and then passed through a fractious Congress. To read more, click here.

‘The Great Society’ review: Lyndon B. Johnson play an action-packed drama

Turbulence takes over and a president’s ambitious domestic agenda gets derailed by overwhelming racial prejudice and an out-of-control foreign war in “The Great Society” — a long-winded but action-packed roller-coaster of a historical drama by Robert Schenkkan examining the final years of the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson, from his 1964 election through the inauguration of Richard Nixon four years later. “The Great Society” is a follow-up to “All the Way,” which dramatized the yearlong period between the assassination of JFK on Nov. 22, 1963, making LBJ president, to the 1964 election. Whereas Bryan Cranston played LBJ in “All the Way” on Broadway in 2014 and in a subsequent HBO film adaptation, Scottish actor Brian Cox (who is currently playing media baron Logan Roy on the HBO series “Succession”) has taken over as the 36th president. Bill Rauch, who directed “All the Way,” is also at the helm of “The Great Society.” To read more, click here.

Brian Cox knows why ‘Succession’ reminds you of the Trumps: ‘It’s about entitlement’

“I could tell you,” says Brian Cox, taking a sip of his iced matcha latte, “but then I’d have to kill you.”

A few hours before going onstage to play Lyndon B. Johnson in “The Great Society,” the actor is in his dressing room at the Vivian Beaumont theater, coolly deflecting speculation about who will be the “blood sacrifice” — the person to take the fall for a corporate scandal threatening to bring down a media dynasty — in the much-anticipated season finale of “Succession,” which is set to air two days after our interview. It’s exactly the sort of thing his character in the HBO drama, a Rupert Murdoch-esque conservative mogul named Logan Roy, would say — but might actually mean. The bluntly profane patriarch — last seen smirking elusively in the closing shot of the season — has made the 73-year-old character actor into an unlikely social media darling, the subject of myriad GIFs and memes. Cox, who is active in the Scottish National Party and describes himself as a socialist, doesn’t have much in common with Logan politically, but the character has been shaped in his image: Both men are from working-class Catholic families in Dundee, Scotland, and lost parents at a young age.

Days after wrapping production of “Succession” in Croatia, Cox returned to New York to begin three weeks of breakneck preparation for “The Great Society,” trading his gentle burr for a Texan drawl he practices by listening to LBJ’s White House tapes. A follow-up to the Tony-winning “All the Way,” which starred Bryan Cranston as Johnson, Robert Schenkkan’s nearly three-hour play charts the president’s final years in office as the war in Vietnam escalates and undermines his progressive domestic legacy. Next month, Cox will appear in the film “The Etruscan Smile” as a cantankerous, terminally ill Scotsman who bonds with his infant grandson. To read more, click here.

How Theater Is Tackling Current Events, From Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton to RBG (Guest Blog)

In dark and divisive political times, many seek escapist entertainment, particularly at the multiplex. (Think “Downton Abbey.”) The cynics among us can stream Ryan Murphy’s latest series “The Politician,” which takes a dark and comedic look at a young man trying to do the right thing, albeit for the wrong reasons. Those nostalgic for a kinder, gentler presidency can always tune in to “The West Wing,” moving next year from Netflix to HBO Max. But it is in the theater world where audiences are currently exploring the sins of the distant past — slavery, racism, sexism anti-Semitism — through the lens of today. “You can’t understand where we are if you don’t understand where we were,” Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan said. To read more, click here.

Grantham Coleman on 'Not Impersonating' Martin Luther King Jr. in The Great Society

Grantham Coleman is currently doing something he never thought he'd do; playing Martin Luther King Jr. alongside Brian Cox in The Great Society on Broadway. Eight times a week, Coleman helps bring history to life in the continuation of Robert Schenkkan's Tony-winning All the Way and he stopped by's #LiveatFive to talk about the experience. "I am a bit of a history buff, so when I got the script, I needed to know more," he said to Paul Wontorek. "I got into a wormhole and kept thinking, 'Wow, this is still happening today.' Growing up, I always looked up to Martin Luther King Jr., so I knew a lot of his history, but I didn't know about him and LBJ and how it all crumbled." To read more, click here.

Brian Cox on What Logan Roy and Lyndon B. Johnson Have in Common

The 'Succession' patriarch discusses returning to Broadway for the first time in eight years to play the 36th American president in 'The Great Society.' A Broadway play was the last thing Brian Cox thought he'd be doing right now. He had planned to enjoy the early fall at his house in the country and relax after wrapping filming on HBO's Succession, which aired its nail-biter season two finale on Sunday night. So when director Bill Rauch asked Cox to be a part of a staged reading of Robert Schenkkan's The Great Society, which explores the second half of Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency, he hesitantly accepted. (Schenkkan covered the first half in All the Way, which earned Tony Awards for best play and lead actor Bryan Cranston in 2014.) When Rauch later asked if he could do a full production, Cox was skeptical, given that it left him only three weeks to prepare after the end of shooting. "It was the quickest transition ever. I didn't think I was going to do it," Cox said. "With the help of others I was able to achieve it. But it was really quite scary to be honest with you. To read more, click here.


When Scottish stage and screen actor Brian Cox was first approached about playing American president Lyndon Baines Johnson in The Great Society, it was for a dramatic reading. Cox was wrapping the second season of the hit HBO series Succession — in which he plays outsized (fictional) media mogul Logan Roy — and, after reading Society, the follow-up to Robert Schenkkan’s Tony Award–winning play, All the Way, he was instantly game. To read more, click here.

“The Great Society” Opens on Broadway, “Succession” Star Brian Cox Gets A List Crowd Including Former US Senator Bill Bradley

I’m a little late to the table on the new Broadway hit, “The Great Society.” That’s because everyone got home late Tuesday night after a smashing opening and party at the newly renovated Red Eye Grill on Seventh Avenue.

Among the guests was former US Senator and basketball great Bill Bradley, who certainly appreciated Robert Schenkkan’s second play about President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The first installment, “All the Way,” won a ton of prizes for the playwright and the star, Bryan Cranston.

Part 2, so to speak, focuses on LBJ’s descent into madness over the Vietnam War even while still pursuing his Civil Rights causes and historic legislation. Vietnam simply overwhelmed Johnson, and Cox, I thought, brilliantly conveyed that through Schenkkan’s cleverly constructed architecture. Cox had just three weeks of rehearsal, he told me, coming off his hit run on the HBO drama, “Succession.” He plays LBJ as a King Lear type, a slowly dissolving leader who can’t read the signs of his own demise. He’s quite brilliant. To read more, click here.